Ashley Graham is freaking cool. That’s a statement you can’t argue with. I already thought she was breathtakingly gorgeous and beautifully confident, but after reading her book, I firmly declare myself her number one fan.
Ashley Graham is a model. And she’s a size 14 (sometimes 12, sometimes 16… You gotta read her book to truly understand this). Honestly, just like she does, I dream of a day when we don’t have to put these kinds of tags. A day when she’s a model, just like we never question that Kendall Jenner or Karlie Kloss can or can not be models. Plus-size, straight-size… Is that really important?
Reading A New Model leaves you feeling empowered, one word at a time. Her chapters navigate through her rough starts, the times she’s failed herself or others, her complicate relationship with food… It turns out I feel much like Ashley Graham in many aspects. However, I had never been able to relate to what Miranda Kerr or Kate Moss said on their interviews. I’m sorry, but you don’t look like that because you sleep 8 hours a day and drink lots of water. No. Way. Ashley speaks openly about her struggles staying in shape and looking good for her job, because she always needs to be watching what she eats and exercise quite a lot.
In these 193 pages, we can see someone that has gone through every possible stage on the journey to self-love and self-acceptance, but no matter what, she’s persevered and she’s came to a point where she truly knows her worth and her beauty. Her words may sound conceited to some, but honestly, I just see a woman who has learned that she’s rocking the world, and that’s what we all should aspire to be. She’s proud of how hard she’s worked and how far she’s come, and I’d be too if I was her!
Though she never openly mentions the word “feminism,” there’s quotes on her book that scream sorority and empowerment everywhere.
To list some of my favorites, empowerment actually could be a synonym for: “That’s what I always say: When models talk there will be trouble – for those trying to stand on our way. The same goes for all strong women. Trust me.”
Also, what’s not to love about a person that works in such a competitive industry but still tries her hardest to bring up her coworkers self-esteem? She has a whole chapter dedicated to women helping out other women, titled: “Turning the competition into community.”
In it, she states she does not accept in her presence any woman bashing other women, she cuts them out. We do not need that kind of negativity. We need to build each other up, as much as we can, every step of the way.
“When models talk there will be trouble – for those trying to stand on our way. The same goes for all strong women. Trust me”. – Ashley Graham
Something to be highlighted as well is that she’s taken the world fat and she’s not ashamed to use it. Being “fat” is not something to be ashamed of, but rather just an adjective. And as she proves, it has nothing to do with beauty. When she was the first plus-size model to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated she made history. She took over a world that was prohibited for curvy girls before. Even looking at that magazine could make any big girl feel humiliated. So Graham tells us: “When I said I was going to take over, I knew I was taking a lot of women with me: all the curvy women in the world who didn’t feel they could be prom queen, CEO, girl-friend, or cover girl, all the girls who say, ‘I am the fat girl’. Well, guess what? We are taking over.”
After all this, it may not sound okay to talk about violence towards women, but Graham is also brave enough to share very personal stories about her sex and love life. She openly explains how she got trapped in a both mentally and physically abusive relationship, and how strong and determined she had to be to walk away from it. She later has found somebody that truly treasures her and supports her career like nobody else, and that’s like screaming HOPE in the ears of all the women out there who don’t know their worth anymore after being in terrible relationships.
“Don’t fall into the trap of sacrificing your self-esteem for affection and acceptance. No matter what your size, you’re a sexy goddess. Remember that”.- Ashley Graham
Ashley Graham is the older sister we all need but specially, she’s the woman we all need in the fashion industry. A New Model: what confidence, beauty and power really look like has quickly become one of the “musts” on my feminist library.